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Business Communication: Course notes topic 3 210613 024503


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Business Communication: Course notes topic 3 210613 024503

  1. 1. Business Communication One (1) School of Foundation and General Studies UGQB3013/UQB3013: BUSINESS COMMUNICATION ONE Course Leader: Paul Chandra Bose S/O Selvarajoo Topic 3: Meetings Introduction to Meetings One of the most common requirements of business communication is holding meetings in English. The following sections provide useful language and phrases for conducting meetings and making contributions to a meeting. Meetings generally follow a more or less similar structure and can be divided into the following parts: I - Introductions Opening the Meeting Welcoming and Introducing Participants Stating the Principal Objectives of a Meeting Giving Apologies for Someone Who is absent II - Reviewing Past Business Reading the Minutes (notes) of the Last Meeting Dealing with Recent Developments III - Beginning the Meeting Introducing the Agenda Allocating Roles (secretary, participants) Agreeing on the Ground Rules for the Meeting (contributions, timing, decisionmaking, etc.) 1
  2. 2. Business Communication One (1) School of Foundation and General Studies IV - Discussing Items Introducing the First Item on the Agenda Closing an Item Next Item Giving Control to the Next Participant V - Finishing the Meeting Summarizing Finishing Up Suggesting and Agreeing on Time, Date and Place for the Next Meeting Thanking Participants for Attending Closing the Meeting The agenda is the key to a successful meeting – it is the roadmap, the guide, the plan. Studies have shown that up to 70% of meetings either have no agenda or have a poor agenda which is not helpful. In this article, you will see that there are some steps which you can take to make sure your agenda will contribute to making your meeting more productive. There are also hidden advantages. If the agenda is well constructed, you will also spend less time in the meeting and more time actually doing the things the meeting determines need to be done A good meeting agenda will serve as a guide to participants, making the meeting more efficient and productive. This article provides a sample agenda and explanation. 2
  3. 3. Business Communication One (1) School of Foundation and General Studies An effective meeting agenda, which states what activities will take place during the meeting, serves various important functions:  It forces the meeting leader or group to think out what needs to be accomplished  Provided ahead of time (as it should be), the agenda lets people know what to expect and allows them to prepare as necessary  It provides a blueprint or path for the meeting to follow  It reminds people of what there is left to cover if time gets to be an issue Public agendas are typically binding – meaning the meeting participants cannot stray from the items they said they would cover. However, agendas for private organizations are often flexible (depending on your stated bylaws) Here is a meeting agenda template with explanations regarding key sections: The header is particularly useful if participants belong to various groups/organizations, or if the agenda will be made public record:  Organization Name  Group Meeting Agenda  Location  Date  Starting and Ending Time The body of the agenda lists the actual items to be covered during the meeting. When possible, use actionable words such as approve, discuss, adopt, and announce to let participants know what is expected of them. At the end of each item is a suggested time allotted (adding up to an hour and a half long meeting), but in reality time allotted will depend on your group’s particular circumstances. 3
  4. 4. Business Communication One (1) School of Foundation and General Studies NOTICE AND AGENDA  A notice announces an upcoming meeting and states the type, date and time of the meeting.  It may be written as a part of an agenda or separately Example, RITE MASTER GALLERY SDN .BHD. A meeting of the Creative Resource Department will be held in the main meeting room on Friday, 4 March 2009 at 9.00 a.m. Example, ANGELIC ANCHEE SDN.BHD. (Co.No.6111786388-A) (Incorporated in Malaysia) NOTICE OF 3RD ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING Notice is hereby given that the 3rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) OF Angelic Anchee Sdn. Bhd.will be held at the registered Office, No 85, Plaza Seri Serdang, 43000, Seri Kembangan, Selangor; on 27 March 2009 ( Friday ) at 10.00 a.m. 4
  5. 5. Business Communication One (1) School of Foundation and General Studies AGENDA An agenda is a list of topics to be discussed at a meeting, Small and informal meetings do not require an agenda. However, a meeting involving a lot of people or covering a lot of issues will need an agenda in advance. An agenda,  Facilitates the meeting  Helps participant to prepare for the meeting  Keeps participants on track once the meeting starts  Structures a meeting so that time is not wasted  Provides opportunities for discussion An agenda consists of two parts,  Ordinary business – these are the items that appear on the agenda of every meeting(at the beginning – apologies for absence, minutes of last meeting , matters arising ) ( at the end – any other business, date of next meeting )  Special business – these re special matters to be discussed at specific meetings. They are placed after the items of ordinary business (chairperson ‘s report , open house , facilities , fund raising reports ) EXAMPLE AGENDA 1. Apologies for Absence 2. Confirmation of Previous Minutes 3. Matters Arising 4. Chairperson’s Report 5. InterZone Badminton Competition 2009 6. New Coach 7. Purchase of Shuttlecocks 8. Any other Business 9. Date of Next Meeting 5
  6. 6. Business Communication One (1) School of Foundation and General Studies After the list of agenda’s item, the secretary puts down his or her signature on the left hand side. His or her name and title are indicated below the signature, followed by the date and a reference The notice and agenda are normally combined whereby the top section is the Notice whereas the section after the notice is agenda. Steps in Making an Effective Meeting Agenda The meeting agenda has to be effective; otherwise, it will mess up the course of the meeting. In order to produce an organized and successful meeting, how do you create a well-written agenda? It must be prepared in advance with careful consideration of the details that you need to indicate on your agenda. Considering the components listed above, first indicate the date, time, and the meeting title on the agenda template. Gather the topics that are up for discussion during the meeting and itemize them on the outline. Specify the time allocation for each topic and discussion leaders, if there is a need to. Provide a space for any additional items or questions that the members will possibly raise before the start of the meeting. Agenda for a formal meeting includes options such as “Apologies for Absence”, “Approval of the Minutes from Previous Meeting”, and “Matters Arising” (from previous meeting). Once the agenda is all ready, you can start sending out meeting requests along with the completed agenda. The participants need to respond whether to accept or decline the meeting. Those who have chosen to join the meeting must adhere to it. You may receive agenda requests that are sent back with additional items and questions. This is your chance to finalize the agenda. Lastly, the prepared meeting agenda has to be followed during the meeting proper. 6
  7. 7. Business Communication One (1) School of Foundation and General Studies Benefits of an Agenda in a Meeting An effective meeting agenda offers many benefits in a meeting. It communicates pertinent information about the meeting to the participants and allows time for them to prepare prior to the meeting proper. It also works as a checklist of the list of attendees, goals, and topics for discussion to make sure that all the needed information is complete and covered. Since the agenda indicates the meeting objectives, it keeps the members focused on the specified goals. Of course, since a meeting agenda serves as a roadmap in a meeting, it keeps the discussion focused and lets the members stay on track with the subject matter. Knowing that a meeting agenda is very important to create effective meetings, understanding the key concepts and making well-written meeting agenda would definitely make it easy for everyone to go through the meeting process smoothly and in an organized manner. A building that is constructed on a strong framework is built on a strong foundation. This same concept goes true for well-made meeting agenda 7
  8. 8. Business Communication One (1) School of Foundation and General Studies Meeting Minutes Format These days, many of us find ourselves in the position of taking meeting minutes without a clue of how to go about it. The following is a guide for making this task easier:  Make sure that all of the essential elements are noted, such as type of meeting, name of the organization, date and time, name of the chair or facilitator, main topics and the time of adjournment. For formal and corporate meetings include approval of previous minutes, and all resolutions.  Prepare an outline based on the agenda ahead of time, and leave plenty of white space for notes. By having the topics already written down, you can jump right on to a new topic without pause.  Prepare a list of expected attendees and check off the names as people enter the room. Or, you can pass around an attendance sheet for everyone to sign as the meeting starts.  To be sure about who said what, make a map of the seating arrangement, and make sure to ask for introductions of unfamiliar people.  Don't make the mistake of recording every single comment, but concentrate on getting the gist of the discussion and taking enough notes to summarize it later. Remember that minutes are the official record of what happened, not what was said, at a meeting.  Use whatever device is comfortable for you, a notepad, a laptop computer, a tape recorder, a steno pad, shorthand. Many people routinely record important meetings as a backup to their notes.  Be prepared! Study the issues to be discussed and ask a lot of questions ahead of time. If you have to fumble for understanding while you are making your notes, they won't make any sense to you later.  Don't wait too long to type up the minutes, and be sure to have them approved by the chair or facilitator before distributing them to the attendees. 8
  9. 9. Business Communication One (1) School of Foundation and General Studies  Don't be intimidated, you may be called upon many times to write meeting minutes, and the ability to produce concise, coherent minutes is widely admired and valued. Example of Minutes Format Name of Organization: Purpose of Meeting: Date/Time: Chair: Topic Discussion Action Person Responsible 1. 2. 3. It is a meeting framework that keeps the participants in control and focused on the subject matter or topic at hand instead of getting off the track. In other words, it provides a meaningful purpose and direction to any type of meeting. A meeting agenda has to be creative and effective in order to make the meeting a productive one. The facilitator or meeting organizer must prepare a well-constructed agenda by knowing its components and the steps in writing an effective agenda. 9
  10. 10. Business Communication One (1) School of Foundation and General Studies Tips for Writing Meeting Minutes Do you want to be more efficient? Think about your meetings and the meeting notes that follow them: When our meetings aren't effective, we waste valuable time figuring out what we are trying to accomplish in them. When our meeting minutes aren't effective, we waste the time we spent in meetings. Without good meeting notes or minutes, we may not remember or recognize:  What we decided in the meeting  What we accomplished in the meeting  What we agreed to in terms of next steps (action items) And when we can't remember the items above, we end up going in different directions and then meeting again for the same original purpose! (Definition: Notes and minutes are the same thing. Minutes are more formal and are often required by organizational bylaws.) To avoid wasting your time spent in meetings, be sure your notes and minutes answer these 10 questions: 1. When was the meeting? 2. Who attended? 3. Who did not attend? (Include this information if it matters.) 4. What topics were discussed? 5. What was decided? 6. What actions were agreed upon? 7. Who is to complete the actions, by when? 8. Were materials distributed at the meeting? If so, are copies or a link available? 9. Is there anything special the reader of the minutes should know or do? 10. Is a follow-up meeting scheduled? If so, when? Where? Why? 10
  11. 11. Business Communication One (1) School of Foundation and General Studies Minutes need headings so that readers can skim for the information they need. Your template may include these: Topics Decisions Actions Agreed Upon Person responsible Deadline Next Meeting Date and Time Location Agenda items Do's and Don'ts: Do write minutes soon after the meeting--preferably within 48 hours. That way, those who attended can be reminded of action items, and those who did not attend will promptly know what happened. Don't skip writing minutes just because everyone attended the meeting and knows what happened. Meeting notes serve as a record of the meeting long after people forget what happened. Don't describe all the "he said, she said" details unless those details are very important. Record topics discussed, decisions made, and action items. Don't include any information that will embarrass anyone (for example, "Then Terry left the room in tears"). Do use positive language. Rather than describing the discussion as heated or angry, use passionate, lively, or energetic--all of which are just as true as the negative words 11
  12. 12. Business Communication One (1) School of Foundation and General Studies REFERENCES A Guide to Business Communication (2010) C Bracken Meyers Business Communication Today (2009) John V. Thill and Coutland L.Bovee Excellence in Business Communication 9th Edition (2010) John V. Thill and Coutland L.Bovee 12